Living in a Shifting World

Today, November 9th, the world shifted. Trump was elected President of the USA. I’m not American, obviously, but the elections echo and possibly predict developments in Europe as well. I am doing my best to think constructively about it. I need to work out how to put my energy, emotions and thoughts into political action. I refuse to give up hope for a better world. I strongly believe this is a stronger enabler and motivator than hopelessness, which inevitably leads to passivity and depression.

I am not alone in having an acute awareness that we are actually facing a true dystopic future. As many of my readers know, I have done some research into Science Fiction and ethics. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale from 1985 is eerily relevant. When we are facing true dystopic possibility, I think we more than ever need creative visions of that we might otherwise move towards. Not in the form of impossible, naive utopia, but as informed, reflective, complex imagination of the new paths we as global and local community/communities need to create.

Beginning with myself, I am thinking about the contexts in which I can raise my voice. I need to face today’s disaster, coupled with Brexit and other political developments in Europe, with a call to keep democracy, fairness, truth, solidarity, hope and kindness alive. The content(s) and meaning(s) of these words need continuous negotiation for them to have moral, relational and political authority locally and globally. 

The photograph of my chilly pelargoniums illustrates ambivalence and difference. Summer and winter, hope and despair, inside and outside, colour and whiteness, home and away – all in the same image, in my close vicinity. Reality is complex and paradoxical. We need tools to cope with this thickness and diversity, and strive accordingly towards wise action.

Don’t forget Obama’s “Yes we can”! We can. And we must. We must, however, begin with ourselves.

So what can I do? I can think. I can write, and I need to raise my voice. However, I need the courage. It is not easy in a screaming and potentially hateful world. I don’t think I have that courage. I also have, what seems to be, green fingers. My plan for political action, which I have written about before, is more important than ever. Gardening can be politics too. I can, and will, create a community garden for and with my neighbours. I need to start doing it.

What can you do? What do you need in order to act constructively towards a better world

(This text was slightly edited on March 14th, if only to make it more readable…)